‘Healthy Choices’ for customers

Azlan Othman

Deputy Permanent Secretary (Professional) at the Ministry of Health Dr Haji Zulaidi bin Haji Abdul Latif launched the Healthy Supermarket Programme at TM Majeed Supermarket in Kampong Kilanas yesterday.

The programme includes ‘Healthy Choices’ shelves to enable customers to identify healthier food and beverage products; provides healthy reminders to encourage customers to choose healthier food products; supports supermarket tours with customers at the supermarket to educate on nutrition labelling and make smart choices.

Dr Haji Zulaidi said food and beverage products labelled as healthier choices are not necessarily more expensive but are safer for their continued health.

It is hoped that the inclusion of another supermarket in the programme and the support provided by the Ministry of Health will encourage other supermarkets in the country to participate in the programme.

“I welcome supermarkets’ joint effort with importers and distributors for their support in providing and adding more healthy choices and work together to empower the public on healthy food and practices through road show and health education such as by organising monthly healthy food selling or campaign,” said the deputy permanent secretary.

He said the programme aims to empower people to make healthier food choices through knowledge and understanding of healthy food and beverage choices in supermarkets; stimulate changes in the supermarket environment to make it more conducive and convenient for people to make choices; and provide opportunities for supermarket and suppliers to play a role in controlling and preventing infectious diseases and promoting healthy food and beverages.

Deputy Permanent Secretary (Professional) at the Ministry of Health Dr Haji Zulaidi bin Haji Abdul Latif in a group photo with TM Majeed staff. PHOTO: AZLAN OTHMAN

TM Majeed’s Healthy Supermarket is the 14th being held since it was launched in 2014. This programme can increase people’s knowledge and drive a healthier and healthier food and beverage choice.

The programme is in line with one of the actions under the Multisectoral Task Force on Health Committee under Cross-Functional Team Improving Brunei’s Food Environment and is part of the country’s Healthier Choice Initiative to promote a healthy eating environment.

The initiative covers the key components of recognising the Healthier Choice Logo and is supported by the Healthy Supermarket Programme and Healthy Restaurant Programme.

With the cooperation of stakeholders such as supermarkets in the country, it provides one of the strategic and influential pillars in driving healthy food selection practices by providing healthy, nutritious and affordable food and beverage products and to give special focus on food and beverage products that have been reformulated and can be categorised or labelled as healthier choices. Such programmes are expected to provide opportunities for the public to increase their knowledge and inclination towards healthy food and beverage choices in general.

It is also hoped that it will stimulate changes in the mindset and behavior of the people in order to adopt healthy lifestyles, especially as a preventive measure against infectious diseases in the country.

The Ministry of Health said supermarkets are one of the strategic environment to influence healthy eating habits and practices. There are many food and beverage choices at supermarkets to enable customers to make purchases.

The ministry hopes that such programme will continue and extended to other supermarkets in involving non-health sector in jointly reducing non-communicable diseases in the country in line with the vision of the ministry towards Healthy Lifestyle and Brunei Vision 2035 for high quality of life.